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Jaguar boss makes committment to UK

Jaguar has been criticised for failing to consult trade unions on plans to reorganize the business and cut 1,150 jobs.

Jaguar chairman Joe Greenwell was told by Martin O'Neill, Scottish MP and member of the House of Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee, that he had not asked for help to "fix the business".

"You told the lads, 'things are not going very well chaps,' but you didn't ask them' to help fix the business," he said. "The unions were quite shocked by the decision. It seemed like a bolt out of the blue to them."

Ford, Jaguar's parent, announced in September that it would end car production at Jaguar's Browns Lane plant leading to the job losses.

Greenwell was questioned for an hour by the select committee, led by O'Neill, which is looking into the future of carmaking in the Midlands.

Greenwell told the committee yesterday Jaguar will survive only if reorganization succeeds. "In the next two or three years, we have to stabilize the business, right-size it,'' Greenwell said. "Only then will we secure a future."

He said Jaguar had been forced to close the Browns Lane plant because of mistakes made five years ago.

The firm had increased manufacturing capacity to 200,000 vehicles a year, but was on course to sell only 120,000 cars.

Greenwell said: "We can't have three plants building 120,000 cars. It is a recipe for the end of Jaguar."

He also said the other Jaguar factories and the Whitley engineering center will stay open and that Jaguar will keep its base in the UK rather than move to the US.

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